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Old 09-14-2017, 12:23 PM
 
91 posts, read 68,273 times
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I have a tendency to write way too much, so I'm going to *try* to make this brief (but will likely fail).

My son is graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Boot Camp next Friday, Sept. 22nd, in Cape May, NJ, and after finally getting to talk to him on the phone a few days ago, after not hearing from him since July, I was told that he wants me to try to be at his graduation, if realistically possible. So, that's why this is on such short notice. To elaborate, originally, before leaving for boot camp back in July, my son had emphatically stated that he did not want us to go to his graduation, because of how expensive it would be. He was insistent about this. Evidently, though, these past 6 weeks of boot camp have changed him and I think he has realized how significant an event and how special an occasion this graduation is going to be for him and our family. So, he now would really like for his mother and I to be there, if we can make it happen. So, that's what I'm working on right now!

First off, I'm trying to find the cheapest possible flights from Phoenix, Arizona, to the Cape May, New Jersey, area. The closest airport to Cape May is in Philadelphia (90 minute drive), but the airport in Newark/NY is the next closest (a 2hr 23 minute drive) and looks to be significantly cheaper to fly in to. I realize that it is not good that I'm trying to do this on 7 days' notice, but that's the reality of it and I would really appreciate some helpful information, advice or suggestions that some of you may have, as I've only flown once as an adult and I don't know **** about flying.

For some details, I will most likely be flying out of Phoenix next Thursday, Sept. 21st, and flying back home to the next night, Friday, Sept. 22nd. There is a possibility that I could want to stay there for 4 days and then fly back to Arizona on Monday, Sept. 25th, but that's not a sure thing. So, I'm just planning on flying out on Thursday to attend my son's graduation ceremony on Friday morning and then flying back home a few hours later on Friday evening.

Is it best to book a round trip ticket? Or could it be better to book two separate one-way tickets? It will just be me traveling by myself, with, probably, one small carry-on-type bag (likely, a duffel bag about the size of a small microwave, assuming that this will be allowed).

Also, since I am wanting to fly out next Thursday, 7 days from today, is there urgency for me to try to book my flights ASAP? Or will it likely not make a difference if I end up booking a flight tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday, with it only being 6, 5 or 4 days in advance?

If anyone knows of any secrets or lesser-known sites, apps or promo codes, or any potential discounts for airline tickets, and/or for rental cars (presumably, that can be rented from the airport in Philadelphia or Newark), I would really appreciate some helpful replies.



And if I could also get some answers to a few questions I have about flying, that would be great!

1.) How likely is it that I will be able to get a window seat with this little time before booking?
2.) If I can get a window seat, will I be allowed to take pictures while flying with my phone and/or digital camera?
3.) Would it be inconsiderate or annoying to want to take lots of pictures during the flight? Shutter sound off, obviously.
4.) Will I be able to carry a digital camera with me? And take pictures with it through the window during the flight?
5.) Will it be OK to bring a portable charger for my cell phone in my bag? Is there a mAh max? 10,000 mAh? More? Less?
6.) Will it be OK to bring Rechargeable AA Batteries and a Wall Charger in my carry-on bag?
7.) Will it be OK to bring a Wall and Car (cigarette lighter plug) cell phone charger in my bag?
8.) Would it be OK for me to bring a Maglite or Streamlight Flashlight and charger in my bag?
9.) If my duffel bag is reasonably small, could I literally have it with me on my lap during the flight?


I am sorry for asking so many question. If anyone wants to reply and try to answer any of my questions, I would really appreciate it!!

Last edited by Arizona Renegade; 09-14-2017 at 12:46 PM.. Reason: To clarify some things
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:35 PM
 
9,804 posts, read 5,008,332 times
Reputation: 33861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arizona Renegade View Post
1.) How likely is it that I will be able to get a window seat with this little time before booking?
2.) If I can get a window seat, will I be allowed to take pictures with my phone and/or digital camera?
3.) Would it be inconsiderate or annoying for me to want to take lots of pictures during the flight?
4.) Will I be able to carry a digital camera with me? And take pictures with it through the window?
5.) Will it be OK to bring a portable charger for my cell phone in my bag? Is there a mAh max? 10K?
6.) Will it be OK to bring Rechargeable AA Batteries and a Wall Charger in my carry-on bag?
7.) Will it be OK to bring a Wall and Car (cigarette lighter plug) cell phone charger in my bag?
8.) Would it be OK for me to bring a Maglite or Streamlight Flashlight and charger in my bag?
9.) If my duffel bag is reasonably small, could I literally have it on my lap during the flight?
1.) Book on Southwest, and add on the Early Bird option ($12.50 per leg). You'll have a very good chance at getting a window seat. You'll be in the "A" boarding group. Seating is first come/first served.
2.) Yes.
3.) As long as you are taking pictures out the window and aren't taking pictures of strangers, it shouldn't be a problem.
4.) Yes. Yes.
5.) Yes. Not that I'm aware.
6.) Yes.
7.) Yes.
8.) Yes. Though I wouldn't want to carry a heavy maglight just because of the weight.
9.) No. It has to go under the seat or in the overhead compartment
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Florida
5,247 posts, read 3,014,518 times
Reputation: 9592
I second flying Southwest.

While in Phila there are some good sights to see, Independence hall, and other places of the nations founding. In the river is the cruiser Olympia which figured in the Spanish-American war. For a sailor a warship that is more than a century old is very different.

Cape May to Atlantic City is mostly a beach area. You can stop at a casino and "make a donation", which is the way it usually works for me at casinos.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:45 PM
 
2,549 posts, read 1,638,245 times
Reputation: 2034
Society hill and Rittenhouse square are two must see areas of Philly. Very beautiful and historic
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:01 PM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,020 posts, read 1,038,332 times
Reputation: 1797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arizona Renegade View Post
For some details, I will most likely be flying out of Phoenix next Thursday, Sept. 21st, and flying back home to the next night, Friday, Sept. 22nd. There is a possibility that I could want to stay there for 4 days and then fly back to Arizona on Monday, Sept. 25th, but that's not a sure thing. So, I'm just planning on flying out on Thursday to attend my son's graduation ceremony on Friday morning and then flying back home a few hours later on Friday evening.
First, congratulations on your son's graduation!
If you want to see how to/from dates affect air fares, a good place to start is https://www.google.com/flights/. It's possible that even with the added hotel/car expense, extending your stay into the weekend could be cost effective. The leave Thursday/return Friday trip you're proposing is doable, but you'd likely spend the weekend recovering.
Also - and this is a long shot - you might look at flights to Atlantic City. It's unlikely there'd be a direct flight from Phoenix, but just be aware AC does have an airport (and is a lot closer to Cape May than either Philly or Newark).
Finally, even if you see a really cheap flight to LaGuardia - DON'T TAKE IT! Extra mileage (in NYC), the airport has all the charm of a bus station, and it has one of the worst on-time records in the nation.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:02 PM
 
91 posts, read 68,273 times
Reputation: 166
Default Thank you very much for thereplies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
9.) No. It has to go under the seat or in the overhead compartment
Assuming that it will fit under the seat, will I be able to access the small carry-on bag under my seat during the flight? I'm a very thoughtful, considerate person and so I don't want to annoy or bother anyone, so I will definitely be mindful of my fellow passengers. I would like to know, though, if I will be able to access the carry-on bag during the flight, to possibly do things like plug my cell phone in to my portable charger, grab my digital camera out of the bag and put it away a couple times, etc. Will that be possible/convenient for me to do? And would getting in to my carry-on bag a few times while flying bother the person next to me? Or would that be a reasonable thing to do?

Thank you for taking the time to reply and answer all of those questions I had listed, btw. I really appreciate it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by engineman View Post
I second flying Southwest.

While in Phila there are some good sights to see, Independence hall, and other places of the nations founding. In the river is the cruiser Olympia which figured in the Spanish-American war. For a sailor a warship that is more than a century old is very different.

Cape May to Atlantic City is mostly a beach area. You can stop at a casino and "make a donation", which is the way it usually works for me at casinos.
I don't know how much time/opportunity I will have to do things like that while I'm there in the Philadelphia/Newark or Cape May areas, but I appreciate the suggestions and I most definitely want to try to take some good photos while there and on the flight there and back. I legitimately plan on taking at least a couple thousands photos during the flight and while I'm over on the East Coast.



As for my carry-on bag, I found a relatively small bag that I think will be large enough to hold a few clothing items and my electronics (battery pack, camera, chargers, etc.), and be small enough to fit under the seat. It's approximately 16 inches wide, 11 inches deep, 11 inches tall. I'm gonna try to post a picture of it below, where the bag is next to a pair of size 11 Nike slides and a tape measure. Hopefully, it will show up and be displayed in this post. If you guys would take a look at this bag and let me know if you think it would be an acceptable carry-on bag, and if it would be small enough to fit under a plane's seat and be accessible (if accessing your carry-on bag permitted), I would really appreciate it.







P.S. In case I might need a larger carry-on bag, I found this bag on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cities-Lightw...15743211&psd=1

It's $23 and has this description:
  • Size: 21.25x11.81x7.8" / Capacity: 32L / Weight: Only 1.1lbs - Fits within 22x14x9 Inch Carry-on Allowances
  • Uniquely designed Carry-On Approved Duffel Bag Hand Baggage for all Major Airlines including American, Delta, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines
  • Robust and Smooth heavy-duty zippers on main body that can be locked by the supplied key padlock and an Adjustable shoulder carry strap - extra support and flexible to fit all sizes
  • Duffle Gym Sports Bag - Ideal for School, College, Overnight and Weekends Away
  • Extra zip pocket on front to help sort extra items such as passports/tickets/adaptors/toiletries/tissues etc
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:28 PM
 
91 posts, read 68,273 times
Reputation: 166
Default Thanks for the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nn2036 View Post
Society hill and Rittenhouse square are two must see areas of Philly. Very beautiful and historic
I appreciate the suggestions and I would really like to be able to check out some of the great things to see in/around Philly, as I have not ever been to the East Coast; but, unfortunately, I just don't think I'm going to have time to do much/any site-seeing.

I will probably be arriving in Philadelphia or Newark some time around 5:30 p.m., try to grab a rental car from/at the airport (any suggestions about this, by the way??), then get on the road to make the drive down to Cape May, which is apparently going to be 1.5-2.5 hours of driving. Then, check in to my hotel in Cape May, try to relax and get some sleep, so I can be ready to get up early and be at the U.S.C.G. Base around 8:00 or so on Friday morning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankInPhilly View Post
First, congratulations on your son's graduation!
If you want to see how to/from dates affect air fares, a good place to start is https://www.google.com/flights/. It's possible that even with the added hotel/car expense, extending your stay into the weekend could be cost effective. The leave Thursday/return Friday trip you're proposing is doable, but you'd likely spend the weekend recovering.
Also - and this is a long shot - you might look at flights to Atlantic City. It's unlikely there'd be a direct flight from Phoenix, but just be aware AC does have an airport (and is a lot closer to Cape May than either Philly or Newark).
Finally, even if you see a really cheap flight to LaGuardia - DON'T TAKE IT! Extra mileage (in NYC), the airport has all the charm of a bus station, and it has one of the worst on-time records in the nation.
First off, thank you for the kind words! Secondly, is LaGuardia the airport in Newark? From what I've seen as of earlier today, on Southwest, a one-way flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia is about $380, but a one-way flight from Phoenix to Newark is $202. Basically, half the price. It might make for an extra hour of driving, but it would save almost $400 off the cost of a ticket there and back.

If LaGuardia is the same airport in Newark that I was considering flying in to, honestly, would you recommend really trying to avoid it, if at all possible? Is it so much worse than the airport in Philadelphia that it would be worth spending an extra $180 to avoid it? I actually may have a friend who can use his points to pay for one of my tickets, so I may just have to pay for a single one-way ticket. And I don't think there's much, if any, difference between the airports for him when using his points. So, if he can use his points to get me a ticket from Phoenix to Philadelphia, I would just have to pay for one one-way ticket myself.

I will be honest, money is an issue, as this is legitimately a relatively expensive trip for myself, so I'm trying to save as much as reasonably possible. However, I don't want to have to worry about possibly encountering some awful **** or awful people, so I am willing to spend a little more money, if it would be a wise thing to do.



Btw, as for renting a car at the airport, does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations about that? Do the airports in Philadelphia and Newark have rental cars available at them? And how much should I expect a 1-day/overnight car rental to cost? $50? $75? $100? More? I don't have access to an actual credit card, just a bank debit card, will that it make renting a car more difficult? Or more expensive? Will they want to put a large hold ($500?) on my debit card? Any suggestions about this part of my trip?
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:48 PM
 
8,119 posts, read 8,626,706 times
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La Guardia is in NYC. Newark is in NJ. Not the same airport. Avoid La Guardia right now like the plague. Newark is usually cheaper anyway. You can also get to Newark airport by NJ Transit (train), but it will take a long time. Might be cheaper than a rental car.

Hey, I have the same bag and the same shoes!

When I fly on Southwest, I take the bag in the picture and use it as my personal bag and squish it under the seat. With Southwest, you can also check in one bag for free. I also bring a roller as my carry-on which will fit in the overhead compartment, if I am not checking a bag.

I really don't see the need to take thousands of pictures while the plane is flying. Most of the time, you will just see clouds and sky. Pictures taken from the window of a plane don't usually come out all that great. You can get glare from the window. Take thousands of pictures of the ceremony instead.

All of the airports have the major rental car companies there. Check for prices online first and it's better to make your reservation in advance. Also check to see if the rental car company will accept a debit card. Most don't.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:13 PM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,020 posts, read 1,038,332 times
Reputation: 1797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arizona Renegade View Post
I appreciate the suggestions and I would really like to be able to check out some of the great things to see in/around Philly, as I have not ever been to the East Coast; but, unfortunately, I just don't think I'm going to have time to do much/any site-seeing.

I will probably be arriving in Philadelphia or Newark some time around 5:30 p.m., try to grab a rental car from/at the airport (any suggestions about this, by the way??), then get on the road to make the drive down to Cape May, which is apparently going to be 1.5-2.5 hours of driving. Then, check in to my hotel in Cape May, try to relax and get some sleep, so I can be ready to get up early and be at the U.S.C.G. Base around 8:00 or so on Friday morning.

First off, thank you for the kind words! Secondly, is LaGuardia the airport in Newark? From what I've seen as of earlier today, on Southwest, a one-way flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia is about $380, but a one-way flight from Phoenix to Newark is $202. Basically, half the price. It might make for an extra hour of driving, but it would save almost $400 off the cost of a ticket there and back.

If LaGuardia is the same airport in Newark that I was considering flying in to, honestly, would you recommend really trying to avoid it, if at all possible? Is it so much worse than the airport in Philadelphia that it would be worth spending an extra $180 to avoid it? I actually may have a friend who can use his points to pay for one of my tickets, so I may just have to pay for a single one-way ticket. And I don't think there's much, if any, difference between the airports for him when using his points. So, if he can use his points to get me a ticket from Phoenix to Philadelphia, I would just have to pay for one one-way ticket myself.

I will be honest, money is an issue, as this is legitimately a relatively expensive trip for myself, so I'm trying to save as much as reasonably possible. However, I don't want to have to worry about possibly encountering some awful **** or awful people, so I am willing to spend a little more money, if it would be a wise thing to do.

Btw, as for renting a car at the airport, does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations about that? Do the airports in Philadelphia and Newark have rental cars available at them? And how much should I expect a 1-day/overnight car rental to cost? $50? $75? $100? More? I don't have access to an actual credit card, just a bank debit card, will that it make renting a car more difficult? Or more expensive? Will they want to put a large hold ($500?) on my debit card? Any suggestions about this part of my trip?
LaGuardia is not the same airport as Newark - it's in New York. The only reason I mentioned it was that it can come up in some flight searches if you say "New York City" rather than being specific and using "Newark" as your search term.
Car rental should be about $50/day for a smaller, economy-style model. I've never renter using anything other than a credit card. I'll bet using a debit card could be problematic. Rather than go through all the screens with dates, models, etc. online, just go ahead and try to make the reservation by calling the company (and be aware that at Newark most, if not all, companies will have to shuttle you to their off-airport locations - factor this time in for your return trip).
You know, given all these questions and your lack of experience traveling this way, it might be easier on you if you used a travel agent. It isn't like you're looking to start your "now I'm going to become a frequent flier" education. This is pretty much a one-off. Offloading it to someone who does this stuff for a living might be the way to go. They can often get discounts that the general public isn't privy to. And there might even be some discounting (formal or otherwise) because your son's graduating from a branch of the military.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
1,936 posts, read 2,469,694 times
Reputation: 1676
Forget Philly -- Cape May itself is beautiful just to walk around.
I'll be flying there tomorrow morning for a long weekend. The drive from Newark can be a pain, especially on the way back. Last year, it took us literally 6 hours due to an accident --- on a Sunday morning -- and there was no way around until we were able to get to off the parkway to a bridge to Ocean City & then back on a bridge on the other end of Ocean City. Point is anything can happen with such a long way to the airport -- this happened less than 20 miles out of Cape May!
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